How to Maximize Performance Improvement ROI: Start with Analysis

Performance Analysis

In our recent blog post about what it takes to truly improve performance in an organization, we discussed the importance of not diving into adopting a “fix” to a performance deficit before you are sure that your solution will yield the business value you are seeking. You risk dedicating significant budget to an initiative that fails to change behaviors or conditions that are contributing to the performance deficit. 

To ensure you invest wisely in initiatives that will yield sustainable change for the better, start by conducting up-front analysis of needs within your organization, jobs and tasks being completed, the people completing those jobs and tasks, what learning they may require, and how to best meet those requirements. Starting with performance analysis allows you to “dip in a toe” to performance improvement before taking a plunge that requires risking more resources. 

It may sound like extra work, but as instructional design professionals specializing in improving performance through knowledge and skill transfer, we can assure you that the minor investment in performance improvement planning and additional analysis up front is well worth the value it provides in the end. 

Where Do We Start with Analysis?

To determine what sort of performance improvement investments will deliver the highest ROI for your organization right now, you must first pinpoint what problems your organization is facing. This will help you figure out what sort of analysis to conduct to maximize return on your performance improvement budget. 

Do any of these problems sound familiar?

  • I have employees who are not performing their jobs properly.
  • I have a performance problem, but I haven’t identified the cause(s).
  • I need to onboard new hires, but I don’t have effective, standardized training.
  • I have employees who are required to do something new within their current jobs.
  • I am not sure if training will solve my performance problems.

If you are facing any of these issues, you likely need to start with a performance analysis. A performance analysis involves:

  • Documenting applicable business goals.
  • Determining what work outputs affect the achievement of those goals.
  • Understanding who creates those output and the performance standards governing them.
  • Recognizing the behaviors of and tasks performed by these individuals and what influences them.
  • Identifying appropriate interventions to shift behaviors and improve task completion quality.
  • Agreeing upon how success will be measured.

What If We Already Did a Performance Analysis?

Perhaps you don’t have any of the problems that would lead you to a performance analysis, or perhaps you already conducted a performance analysis and reached the conclusion that you do, in fact, need to develop training to solve the problems you are facing. If that is the case, ask yourself:

  • Do I know the best way to deliver necessary training? 
  • Do I have enough data about the audience to effectively design the training?
  • Have I identified the tasks that need to be the focus of training?
  • Do I know what knowledge, skills, or attitudes are required to perform these tasks?

If you answered “No” to any of these questions, you likely could benefit from a training analysis. This type of analysis plays an important role in helping you be sure your training initiative is properly targeted prior to you beginning actual training design. Training analysis involves:

  • Documenting applicable business goals.
  • Recognizing characteristics of the individuals to be trained.
  • Understanding the tasks performed by these individuals and the associated skills and knowledge needed
  • Identifying the ideal delivery methods for delivering training to these performers.
  • Setting performance objectives.
  • Agreeing upon how success will be measured.

What If Training Analysis is Complete?

Let’s say a delivery method analysis was already done, and you know the best way to deliver the training. You have identified the performance and learning objectives, and you have detailed information about the audience. You know where the knowledge needs to be stored, and you know what needs to be measured to ensure the training was successful. Then what?In this case, you are ready for training design. This step transitions you from analysis into design, and often involves working direction with an instructional design specialist. Training design includes:

  • Documenting the purpose of the training.
  • Designing an ideal approach to training, as well as instructional strategies.
  • Determining the proper sequence of the content. 
  • Identifying tools to measure the success of the training.
  • Establishing project milestones.

Find the Best Path Forward for Your Situation

Regardless of where you are in the early stages of performance improvement planning, an investment of upfront effort can greatly improve your chances of receiving a strong return on your performance improvement budget; and you don’t have to do this alone: Working with a performance improvement specialist from the beginning helps you move smoothly from performance analysis to training development to progress measurement and retention efforts. 

Whether you choose to work with performance improvement specialists or not, we encourage you to work through the levels of analysis laid out above to make sure you get the most out of your investments of time and energy. To make it easier, download this one-page, at-a-glance resource that summarizes the considerations explained in this blog post.

If you need help navigating the analysis process, give us a call at (330) 650-4777. A Radcom performance improvement expert will be happy to assist you.